Safety concerns on Ontario Highway 10 in spotlight following fatal crashes

By Kyle Hocking

There are renewed calls for safety upgrades to Ontario Highway 10 following a devastating week of crashes on the road.

Last week, three fatal collisions in four days closed sections of Highway 10 in Peel Region and Dufferin County.

Chief Superintendent Dwight Peer with Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Central Region says the number of crashes his officers have dealt with across their area has increased significantly in 2022.

“Compared to this time last year, collisions have increased 55 per cent,” Peer said in a Nov. 7 update on social media.

“Just in the last 10 days since Oct. 28, officers in Central Region have investigated 11 serious roadway collisions, eight of which have been fatal.”

Three of those eight fatal collisions were on Ontario Highway 10, including a three-vehicle crash between 10th and 15th Sideroads north of Orangeville, Ontario, in Dufferin County, which killed a 59-year-old man on Halloween.

Two days later, on Nov. 2, a male driver was killed in a two-vehicle crash between a sedan and transport truck on Highway 10 near Boston Mills Road in Caledon.

The next day, another driver was killed following a two-vehicle crash involving a passenger car and commercial vehicle on Highway 10 near Beechgrove Sideroad in Caledon.

Residents see Highway 10 as dangerous road

CityNews spoke with outgoing Caledon Town Councillor Ian Sinclair, who said the road had earned a dangerous reputation within the community.

“Parents in one quadrant of the residential area have to drive their kids over to the next quadrant to visit and play with other kids,” Sinclair said when reached by phone.

“You wouldn’t let them cross the road on their own.”

OPP on scene of a crash on Highway 10 near Beechrove Sideroad in Caledon

Caledon OPP on the scene of a fatal collision on Highway 10 near Beechgrove Sideroad on Nov. 3, 2022. (Twitter/OPP)

Sinclair also outlined the impact that repeated serious collisions on Highway 10 has on community members.

“We’ve got volunteer firemen here, and they’re first on the scene, and they have to use the jaws of life to carve people out of vehicles,” Sinclair added.

“So that’s a huge psychological toll on them. As one of the volunteer firefighters told me — things [are] seen that cannot be unseen … It’s not full-time professional firemen here. We’ve got a lot of local people responding to these incidents, and it’s pretty tough.”

Local councillor says more needs to be done

CityNews also spoke with Caledon Town Councillor Lynn Kiernan. Highway 10 runs through Ward 1 in Caledon, which Kiernan has represented as Area Councillor since 2018.

She has taken the lead in discussions with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to bring more safety upgrades to the provincially-owned highway.

“The MTO and the province are not on the road. They’re not living there. So, I consider it my responsibility to bring that to their attention,” Kiernan told CityNews by phone.

“The changes I’ve seen on Highway 10 — the volumes, the driver behaviour, the speed — is extraordinary, quite frankly. And the serious accidents, the fatalities are just increasing by the year … The number of trucks and the mass of trucks has increased dramatically, and that’s going to continue to increase.”

Hwy 10 announcement in Caledon

Caledon Councillor Lynn Kiernan (right) with Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones (left) and Town of Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson at an announcement on Hwy 10 on Feb. 7, 2022. (Facebook/Lynn Kiernan)

Kiernan said there are several changes she would like to see, including the installation of red light cameras, but stopped short of advocating for a jersey barrier to be added between the opposing lanes of traffic.

“I have asked for a speed reduction, and I think that’s important. I think we need to have some speeds reduced in certain areas,” Kiernan said.

“Is the jersey barrier the right way? I’m not sure the community is going to be invested in that.”

MTO committed to working with local municipalities along Highway 10

In an email, the MTO told CityNews its thoughts go out to the families of those lost in recent collisions on Highway 10 and committed to continuing to work with the OPP on the investigations. It also said it had been actively working with local municipalities to improve road safety.

“In collaboration with local councillors and the Mayor, the ministry has been working with the Town of Caledon to improve overall driver safety on the highway,” the Ministry said.

“We recently completed a review of the intersection of Highway 10 at Olde Base Line Road.”

The MTO also outlined some steps that have already been taken to address safety concerns on the highway.

“Following that the review, MTO installed 13 public education signs along the Highway and added a solar-powered flashing beacon, and ‘Prepare to Stop’ in advance of the intersection of Olde Base Line Road,” the MTO told CityNews.

“We have also extended the time for the amber signal to allow more vehicles to clear the intersection safely and enhanced the pavement markings across the lanes approaching the intersection.”

Councillor Kiernan said those changes came about from community advocacy and that she’s happy some progress has been made, but she also said much more needs to be done.

“Personal safety – nothing trumps that – personal safety, in my opinion. And we know this corridor is a proven problem. So, we need to find technical improvements, and those are things I will continue to advocate for. And the other side is enforcement and working with our OPP partners. I will continue to work with them to find the solutions there too. It is a complex problem,” Kiernan said.

“I’m pleased to see MTO come back and acknowledge that things were done, but more things need to be done.”

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